Whakatane District Council’s public outdoor spaces are now smokefree. The Council Smokefree Policy comes into effect today, Tuesday 31 May 2011 to coincide with World Smokefree Day.
Speaking after the presentation of the first of the smokefree signs to be installed around the district’s playgrounds, Whakatane Deputy Mayor Judy Turner said the Council is asking the public to refrain from smoking on council owned playgrounds and parks.
“Our aim with this policy is to reduce the chances of children being exposed to smoking behaviours. Children and young people are great imitators and outdoor spaces dedicated to their recreation should be smoke-free. There are innumerable health benefits associated with non-smoking and this policy is part of the council’s efforts to build a healthy community”.
Urging people to be actively involved in educating and discouraging smoking in children’s play areas, Mrs Turner said public pressure is will be vital to the success of the policy.
“It is important that if you see someone lighting up, kindly remind them that our playgrounds and parks are smoke free. Together, we can make Whakatane a cleaner and healthier place to live by supporting the smokefree policy”.
Signs will be erected in various playgrounds throughout the District starting with the following locations:
1. Wairaka Playground, The Heads, Whakatane
2. Ocean Playground (including the skatepark), Whakatāne
3. Maraetotara Playground, Ohope Beach
4. Riverslea Mall Playground, Edgecumbe
5. Eivers Park, Te Teko
6. Heale Street Playground and Reserve, Matata
7. Civic Park, Murupara
8. Morrison Street Reserve, Taneatua
9. Edgecumbe Community Skate Park, Edgecumbe
Smokefree Policy is an initiative supported by Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service.
Sarah Stevenson, Health Improvement Advisor for Toi Te Ora - Public Health Service said educational policies rely on the community for support to be successful. We receive really positive feedback from both smokers and non-smokers across the region who really support this initiative.
“We aren’t targeting smokers, it’s about protecting the health of our children and creating supportive environments for choosing a healthy smoke-free lifestyle.” Sarah says.
A 2008 national survey conducted by the Cancer Society found that two-thirds of all New Zealanders support the expansion of smokefree areas to outdoor areas that children use. 70% of New Zealanders support local councils making their events 100% smokefree.
Around 30 councils in New Zealand have now adopted smoke-free public places policies. For more information please contact the Council on 07 306 0500.